British Columbia

Day 2 of B.C. election final count ends with NDP leading by 101 votes in Courtenay-Comox

Around 900 absentee ballots still to be counted in the crucial riding

Posted: May 23, 2017
Last Updated: May 24, 2017

The contenders for Courtenay-Comox: the NDP's Ronna-Rae Leonard, who led by just nine votes over B.C. Liberal Jim Benninger after the initial count, now leads by 101 votes partway through the final count. (B.C. NDP and B.C. Liberals)

British Columbia will have to wait at least one more day for a final result in the 2017 provincial election. 

There are still approximately 17,000 absentee ballots to be counted by Elections BC in 14 ridings, including around 900 in the crucial riding of Courtenay-Comox.

There, NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard leads by 101 votes over Liberal candidate Jim Benninger. 

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Across the province, the B.C. Liberals' popular vote lead over the NDP has shrunk to 2,612 votes —  793,213 votes to 790,601.

If any riding after the final count is within 1/500th of the total ballots considered, the district electoral officer must apply for an automatic recount. 

At this point, however, no completed count meets that threshold.

Of the five ridings where absentee votes had the potential to change the winning party, the Liberals were able to hold on to the riding of Richmond-Queensborough by 134 votes and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain by 87 votes, after the final count. 

Counting is still underway in Maple Ridge-Mission, where the NDP now leads by 369 votes, and Vancouver-False Creek, where the Liberals lead by 406 votes, although neither one is expected to change hands.  

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The Liberals need to take one additional seat in order to have the 44 MLAs and a majority in the legislature. If they fail to do so, a variety of scenarios, including an NDP government, are in play. 

"It's still very close, and everybody's anxious to see what will happen next," said Glen Sanford, the NDP's deputy director, who is representing the party as a scrutineer in Courtenay-Comox.

"The trend is going in the right direction ... everyone's still chewing their fingernails until [Wednesday] afternoon, when we should have the final result." 

Elections BC will continue its count Wednesday morning and is expected to give its first update at 10 a.m. PT.